Preceptorship via action research : a reflective account
This thesis provides a reflective account of the introduction of a provisional model of transitional learning support (known as preceptorship) offered to newly qualified nurses via an action research project. 284 nurses took part in the project over a three year period. By a process of collaborative exploration, reflection and problem-solving, preceptor partnerships were established in the workplace in an attempt to uncover and articulate the learning and socialisation processes encountered at the beginning stages of a nurse's career. Data relating to the model's implementation was collected via eleven different methods, the most data-rich being that of values exploration and clarification using the dialectical technique of 'Socratic Questioning'. The data and relevant literature were then collaboratively analysed and interpreted by co-researchers using the principles of reflective practice. The emerging account of beginning practice in nursing was then synthesised and 'reconstructed' by the primary researcher, drawing on the theoretical and philosophical perspectives of Social Constructionism and Human Ecology. A practice based theory of preceptorship was developed and empirically tested through the project, and a description and reflective evaluation of the processes involved is provided here. Tentative recommendations are then offered for the future development of preceptorship in the workplace.